It is the historic position of the Christian Church that Christ rose from the dead on the third day. We celebrate this throughout the year, but especially Easter weekend. People gather from all walks of life and different faith convictions to celebrate this truth. The Apostle Paul notes this in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2…
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the world I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”
In this portion of scripture two types of people are mentioned. The first includes those who received the gospel and are being saved by the gospel, if and as they hold on to the gospel with perseverance. The second include those who appear not to hold fast to the gospel, and have believed in vain. This means their faith does not have staying power; it does not bring benefit or value to their life. I suppose that this group has made a profession of faith, but the substance or reality of that faith is lacking and it does them no good (and will do them no good at the day of judgment). A profession of faith must be matched with a genuine trust in Christ for salvation.
A third type of personality is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:16 alongside Paul’s rebuke of an abuse of the gift of tongues…
“If you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say ‘Amen’ to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?”
The term for “outsider” may also be translated “ungifted,” and it appears clear enough that this person has never even made a profession of faith. This person is not even pretending to be a Christian. In summary, the Apostle Paul notes three different sorts of people who gather in corporate worship: the genuine believer, the person with a vain profession of faith and the outsider.
Now, in putting together our Easter celebration weekend, I hope to address all three persons with an exposition on what difference the death, burial and, especially, resurrection of Jesus Christ may make in a person’s life. This is the burden of 1 Corinthians 15. In answering this question, Paul wants to bring assurance that this event really did happen in history (v. 5-7). He states that the resurrection is linked with a forgiveness of sins (v. 17). If Christ did not rise, professing believers are to be pitied. Those who have passed away in Christ have actually perished.
Another difference the resurrection makes is that it prepares us to live for another age, a kingdom age (v. 23-5). Believers will receive a new body (v. 42-3) on the other side. Death has lost its victory (v. 54) and believers should be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, our labor is not in vain (v. 58).
These are the reasons why Easter matters. I look forward to celebrating with you. Why don’t you invite a friend to join one of our celebration services?